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September 24, 1971 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1971-09-24

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Priddy, September 24, 1971

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

Friday, September 24, 1 971 YHE MICHIGAN DAILY

Listeners' Com

BBC MUSIC GUIDES, edited
by Gerald Abraham, University
of Washington Press, 95c each.
By CARL PETER MEYER
The University of Washington
Press recently issued its second
series of BBC monographs on
composers and their works.
Printed on high quality paper,
in excellent clear type face and
durably bound with stitching,
each monograph contains be-
tween 50 and 60 pages, includes
numerous musical examples, and
costs a mere 95c. All are written
by well-known, (mainly) British
critics and musicologists, many
by the recognized world author -
ities in their field: viz. H. C.
Robbins Landon and Maurice J.
E. Brown. The books are as fol-
lows:
SERIES ONE (1969)
Beethoven Piano Sonatas by
Denis Mathews
Haydn Symphonies by H. C.
Robbins Landon
Bach Cantatas by J. A. West-
rup
Mozart Chamber Music by A.
Hyatt King
Schubert Chamber Music by
J. A. Westrup
Haydn String Quartets by
Rosemary Hughes
Monteverdi Madrigals by
Denis Arnold
Brahms Orchestral Music by
John Horton
Schubert Songs by Maurice
J. E. Brown
Berlioz Orchestral Music by
Hugh MacDonald

SERIES TWO (1971)
Beethoven Symphonies by Ro-
bert Simpson
Mahler Symphonies and
Songs by Philip Barford
Schubert Symphonies by
Maurice J. E. Brown
Debussy Piano Music by
Frank Dawes
Ravel Orchestral Music by
Laurence Davies
Tchaikovsky Symphonies and
Concertos by John Warrack
Schubert Piano Sonatas by
Philip Radcliffe
Elgar Orchestral Music by
Michael Kennedy
Beethoven Concertos and Ov-
ertures by Roger Fiske
In most cases I think it would
be difficult to generalize about
a group of books, but I think not
here; let me say first of all that
all are remarkably straightfor-
ward without in the slightest
ever talking down to the reader.
And all are well-written and
highly readable. Words are not
wasted, there is no time for
padding, and all the writers
seem to be working with re-
markable unanimity toward this
common goal: elucidation of the
composer's works. Treatments
range from the not too techni-
cal (for areas possibly not as
well known to most readers and
listeners) to the rather techni-
cal but never abstruse..
The quality of the second ser-
ies seems to this reviewer to be
marginally on a higher level
than the first. Here the writers

Prof.
Radcliffe Squires, A L L E N
TATE, A LITERARY BIOGRA-
PHY, Pegasus, $6.95.
By KENNETH FIFER
Literary fashions, like those
of clothing, are predictably
whimsical-basic items remain
recognizable, but in matters of
cut, color, styling, manifest the
wide-ranging fluctuations of
public taste. Allen Tate, so re-
cently an illustrious and highly
visible poet, critic, and editor,
has today become an invisible
man. Tate deserves better, and
in time will undoubtedly receive
such. Radcliffe Squires clearly
deserves much praise for a vol-
ume founded on the ample re-
sources of his own mind and
ear, and not on the grosser sen-
sitivities of the market-place.
Prof. Squires understands the
proper function of a critic: to
direct, not to follow, the public
taste.
And yet, sadly, this book does
not attain the complete success
that one would hope for it. This
"literary biography" is imper-
fect in conception and flawed at
the beginning by Prof. Squires'
choice of genre. As literary eri-
0
seeni to be more willing to make
the seldom made point or to use
their imaginations with more
frequency. For the most part
these books are more technical
as well as more challenging and
incisive. And with the excep-
tion of Simpson's book on Beet-
hoven Symphonies they stear
clear of annoying philosophizing
and pointless speculation of
many longer studies or of hom-
ages. For homages are exactly
what these books are not! They
are accurate and critical.
The greatest use for the ser-
ies should be to the general mu-
sic listener. The books are really
listeners' companions and they
can benefit both the person who
knows the music and those who
want to get to know it. Happily
the books contain a minimum
of biography. They read as lin-
er notes should read but seldom
do, i.e. an introduction to the
music at hand, not a paen to
the composer or a talk on what
he was doing when he wrote the
music. For the connoiseur they
serve as a stimulation to reeval-
uation and for others less versed
they can serve as discovery.
The possibilities for future
books appear practically end-
less. Forthwith a few sugges-
tions; Bach Passions: Bach Con-
certos; Mozart Concertos; Beet-
hoven String Quartets; Dvorak
Chamber Music; Dvorak Sym-
phonies: Bruckner Symphonies;
Wolf Lieder; Wagner Opera,
Probably the most important
books in the series are the four
devoted to four genres of Schu-
bert's works, primarily because
no other paperbacks (and damn
few hardbacks) are available in
English at this time on this
master. Logically Simpson's
book on the Beethoven Sym-
phonies is the most technical
(for more has been written
about them) and if there is a
black sheep in the group his is
certainly the outcast. Simpson
manages to stimulate and pro-
yoke, and he is perhaps justified
in lieu of Grove's 400 pages on
the subject. However he does
seem a might self-indulgent in
his quest to say something new
especially as compared to his
fellow writers. Another of the

most useful books is the one on
Beethoven's concertos and over-
tures primarily because it sorts
through the complications and
enigmas of the overture births:
one of the touchiest of Beetho-
ven problems especially as con-
cerns the four written between
1805-14 for the different ver-
sions of Beethoven's only opera,
Fidelio.
But to talk of every book
would take a paper. There is
much to admire, very little to
fault, and for the general music
lover the books have been too
long coming. Happily the job
was entrusted to professionals
and they have performed profes-
sionally and con amore.
Daily Classifieds
Bring Results

ticism, this volume is often un-
satisfactory; as biography it is
disastrous. And one cannot re-
sist the temptation of thinking
that either mode impinges fa-
tally on the other. Without re-
questing either single or simple-
mindedness, one does wish that
the author could have demon-
strated more compatibility be-
tween his twin roles of critic
and biographer. When one re-
members that Tate himself had
given up work on the autobio-
graphical Ancestors of Exile be-
cause of the overwhelming "dis-
crepancy between outward sig-
nificance and the private," and
had (in "Longinus and the New
Criticism") written of "nature
intractable to art, art unequal
to nature . . . . We must learn
from nature that some elements
of subject matter in a literary
work, depend' on art alone,"

the critic-biographer's problem
becomes even more difficult.
Some specifics are in order.
Biographically, what can one
think of the single sentence an-
nouncements of marriage and
divorce that regularly punctuate
the volume? Somewhat jolting
in effect, being neither prepared
for nor explained, they work
only to produce the ludicrous
suggestion that the significant

Squires: Focusing on Allen

B
0
0
K
S
B
0
0
K
S

zas are undoubtedly pugnacious,
its central stanzas provide quite
another key: Speaking of him-
self the poet says:
Wherefore I and my kind
Wear meekly in the face
A pale honeydew rind
Of rotten sweet grace;
Ungracefully doting
Great-aunts hanged in lace
We are: mildly gloating

factor in Tate's family life was
merely the contractual state of
his relations. Nor is it only
Tate's family life that receives
such discreet treatment: we are
not told of his 1937 quarrel with
Ivor Winters until the chrono-
logical process, which Prof.
Squires usually holds to so ten-
aciously, has taken us to 1948.
Here again, one sentence suf-
fices.
If one were to reply, however
quixotically, that these factors
were relegated to such brief sta-
tus because they do not bear di-
rectly on the book's critical in-
tent, it becomes necessary to
note the odd ways in which bio-
graphical factors are allowed to
temper critical observations. For
reasons of brevity, let us take
notice of but two examples. The
first can be found in the au-
thor's treatment of "False.
Nightmare," in which Tate i.s
heroically pictured - we have
already seen him fighting big
business and urbanization as a
Social Agrarian - as "engaged
in confronting . . . (Whitman's
barbaric) yawp with whatever
resources he could command."
He saw "the true enemy" and
"in a subtle way Tate was en-
gaging the enemy" (p. 154),
What is left out of such an un-
cluttered appraisal, unfortun-
ately, is much of the poem it-
self. For while the opening stan-

Dog bones in a trunk
Saved in the attic .
We love our land because
All night we raped her...
As Tate wrote, in reference to
the early criticism of his poem,
"Alas, what can we hope for
from our friends?"
Of course my selection from
the poem is no more represen-
tative than is Prof. Squires; the
only point to be made is that art
is often much more complicated
than life alone would have it ap-
pear. What must be remembered
is that good criticism, like most
good poetry. cannot afford the
biographer's luxury of creating
heroes. My second example, pro-
viding further substantiation of
this same point, is contained in
GREGORY PECK in
MOBY DICK
Academy Awards winner
by JOHN HUSTON
". . .it's about this whale."
TUES.-Sept. 28
aud. a-angell haI--75c
7 & 9:30 p.m.
ann arbor film cooperative

the very title of the closing
chapter, "Work in Progress."
Considering that Tate has not
published any new poems since
1947 (and those final poems not
complete, but fragments, howev-
er fine), I find the implications
of such a title rather too san-
guine. This unsubstantiated op-
timism, which spills over into a
concluding comparison of Tate
with Socrates, does nothing to
heighten the effect of the au-
thor's other closing remarks.
Allen Tate does deserve bet-
ter, And if Prof. Squires' book
can begin to generate interest
and enthusiasm for this too
much neglected poet, we shall
all be the benefactors. For Tate
has produced some of the very
best poetry of this century:
Not only
The bent eaves and the win-
dows cracked,
The thin grass picked by
the wind,
Heaved by the mole; the
hollow pine that
Screams in the latest
storm - these,
These emblems of twilight
have we seen at length,
And the man red-faced
and tall seen, leaning
In the day of his strength

Tate
Not as a pine, but the stiff
form
Against the west pillar,
IHearing the ox-cart in the
street -
IHis shadow gliding, a long
nigger
Gliding at his feet.
This book can be recommend-
ed, and does deserve to be read.
Prof. Squires' own insight into
the poetic process, his thought-
ful research, his access to pre-
viously unpublished letters by
Ransom, Warren, Lytle, and Da-
vidson, as well as Tate, do much
to compensate for the struc-
tural and formal confusions of
his book. Most of all, Prof.
Squires' contribution is in once
again focusing public attention
on Allen Tate's remarkable gen-
ius.
Today's writers . .
Kenneth Fifer is a graduate
student who has won Major
Hopwood awards in poetry and
essay.
Peter Meyer works at Centi-
core Bookshop and, in his lei-
sure hours, collects records
with unbounded gusto.

BLUEGRASS MUSIC
By
THE R.F.D. BOYS
Every Friday and Saturday from 9 P.M.

Informal Dining
7 Days a Week

eroewe-I -- e---
Broadway Plymouth Rd.
North
Campus
1759 Plymouth Rd.
at Broadway
663-1740

Last

THE LAST WHOLE EARTH
CATALOG, edited by Stewart
Brand, distributed by Random
House, $5.00.
By ROBERT W. CONROW
Books Editor
After months of rumors and
speculations, the massive (450
page) Last Whole Earth Cata-
log, is now available at local
bookstores. A brilliant composi-
tion of suggestions for survival
on Planet Earth, this last of the
catalogs represents a rich patch-
work of the best of the old
interwoven with a good deal
that is new. Yet, despite i t s
impressive offerings, this mag-
num opus comes with one draw-
back, one haunting disappoint-
ment, for it is, indeed, the last.
Since the time Stewart Brand
conceived of the catalog (when
flying home from his father's
funeral in the Spring of 1968)
and brought out the first issue
that fall, readership has in-
creased spectacularly. The ini-
tial press run of 1,000 copies has
grown to the point where the
current edition's starting press
run was 500,000, with 90,000
copies sold in the beginning two
weeks alone. Readers no longer
consist of that originally-intend-
ed audience of Stewart's
"friends living on rural com-
munes," but rather, they com-
prise a surprisingly diverse seg-
nent of the population at large.
Not long ago, Stewart noted "We
walk the line between city and
country, between children and
parents; both want to pick up
on what the other does, so they
get the catalog."
Because the catalog's entries
consist of the off erings
of anyone who chooses to write
-

in, they are often subject to in-
dividual prejudices and heart-
felt whims. Throughout, how-
ever, one is impressed by the
unmitigated candor of not only
the contributors in general, but
also, the chief contributor, Stew-
art Brand himself.
Such is the nature of the con-
cluding item in the catalog en-
titled simply "How to Do a
Whole Earth Catalog." Here,
Stewart Brand, in a final bow,
gives his own views of the trials
and tribulations of personal suc-
cess. In Stewart's words, "worst
of all is the classic bind of the
successful do-gooder. If you do
good well, your opportunities to
do more increase, as your stam-
ina to do any decreases. You
should relax, yes you should, re-
lax, with guilt yammering in
your ear."
Stewart Brand is now relax-
ing. There are other publica-
tions, most notably M o t h e r
Earth News, which will help to
fill the void. But what about
that yammering guilt? Stewart
Brand concludes his statement
with two seemingly prophetic
lines from Kenneth Patchen:
Pause.
And begin again.
As for the rest of us, if you
can still find a catalog, buy it.
Or, as Stewart Brand advises,
better yet, start your own.
ARCHITECTURE
AUDITORIUM
Saturday, Sept. 25
an extra screening
of

< ? .
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cfi>;
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.

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Tights in brown, beetroot, green,
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Body top in brown, beetroot,
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Leg warmers in brown, beetroot,
red, rust or purple. $5.
Suede slipper in beetroot,
green or rust. S-M-ML-L $10.

-Saturday-
Sept. 25
See You at Mao
-and-
PRAVDA
the first and latest films by
Dzigo-Vertov collective of God-
ard and Jean -Pierre Gorin.
"Pravda is Godard'srbestand
clearest film."-Village. Voice
NAT. SC' sAUD.
double-bills 7 & 9 p.m.
$1.50 ARM/UM Film Society

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